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Carst and Walker
Big Food like Big Tobacco

Food companies accused of using tobacco’s tricks to protect profits

Global food and drink companies are using techniques pioneered by the tobacco industry to undermine public-health policies designed to combat obesity, diabetes and alcohol-related illnesses, a new study claims. [Click pic to enlarge]

Multinational firms have distorted research finding, paid large sums to build relationships with health bodies and lobbied governments to block health regulations, according to the paper published in The Lancet.

It argues that the British Government’s reliance on voluntary self-regulation and “nudge theory” techniques to change consumer behaviour will do little to reverse the global spread of disease caused by junk-food diets.

The study, led by Professor Rob Moodie, of the University of Melbourne in Australia, also details the grip that trans-national corporations such as Kraft, Nestlé, Mars and Unilever have on global food markets in the developed world and their increasing reliance on low-income countries for continued growth. The 10 largest companies now control more than 15 per cent of all food sales – three quarters of which are made up of highly processed foods such as frozen pizza, burgers, biscuits and fizzy drinks.

The study team concluded that the only way to achieve the United Nation’s goal of halving the mortality rate for diseases caused by tobacco, alcohol and poor diet is through greater regulation.

The report concluded: “There is now evidence to show that the food, drink, and alcohol industries use similar tactics and strategies to the tobacco companies to undermine public health interventions.”

Among the techniques allegedly used to avoid unwanted industry regulation was the building of partnerships with health bodies. The report highlights the three-year arrangement between the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and confectionary giant Nestlé announced in 2012……

The Independent: Read the full article

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